How many movie trailers have you seen in your lifetime? I would say I’ve probably seen thousands and I’ve never really thought much about them except that this particular movie looks good or this particular movie looks stupid.
Well, I have to say creating a movie trailer is actually very hard and very time consuming, as any film editor would be able to tell you. Our editor spent probably hundreds of hours honing and cutting down the hours of footage of A Thousand Bayonets into two minutes.
Above all, you have to remember it is a marketing tool. You want people to start talking about your movie and audiences to feel exited. Sometimes the trailer is a lot different than the movie. Two instances come to mind: Little Children and the Exorcism of Emily Rose. Little Children’s trailer felt more like a physiological suspense film and the Exorcism of Emily Rose was more like a horror film when in fact it was a courtroom drama. Having a trailer that is different than the film is not necessarily bad but you have to be careful: sometimes the audience goes away from the movie feeling cheated which is never good.
For the A Thousand Bayonets trailer, we had to consider what we wanted to convey. We had to think about the pace, the style and the feel. When it comes down to it, a movie trailer is almost like a form of poetry. You only have a minute or two to grab the audience’s attention and you have to decide what the best images are able to do that. You have to create a compelling character, show what his tragic flaw is and also show the audience what the main problem in the story is and make it all flow together seamlessly. Like I said, not easy.
Now take the first version we have here.
Eventually we decided the sequence was all wrong. We had the gunfight in the middle where it made little impact. We decided that it should go at the end to provide the most impact for the audience and leave them with a ‘wow’ factor. But when we did that we had to cut out the scene where John Webster pushes the gangster up against the post demanding an explanation for the shootout. It wouldn’t have fit in before because it wouldn’t make sense and it wasn’t strong enough to end on.
We decided on a more suspenseful ending as you can see with the more polished final version below.
What do you think? Much better. Of course the sound and the colour correction helps. Of course it isn’t perfect but for the budget and time constraints it looks pretty good, don’t you agree?
Also, if you want to see a secret R-rated version of the trailer you have to be part of my Facebook fan club http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fan-Site-of-Joel-Mark-Harris/162588333788840